Great Photography Apps For Mac Rating: 7,0/10 4140 reviews
  • January 02, 2020
  • 18 min to read
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Most free photo editors available on the App Store are quite basic, offering just a limited number of filters and allowing you to easily and quickly liven up your photos before posting them on social media.

But if you’re an aspiring or professional photographer, you probably need a more powerful app with a broader set of tools to use your creativity to the fullest. Besides, you probably use your Mac for photo editing because working on a large screen makes it possible to adjust the slightest details.

Best Mac Photo Editing Software - Free/Trial or Cheap 1. Apple’s Photos (Built-in app) 2. Luminar (7 days trial) 3. Photolemur 3 (Free Version with watermark) 4. Aurora HDR (14 days trial) 5. Pixelmator (Trial 30 Days) 6. Adobe Photoshop Elements 2020 (Trial link) 7. Affinity Photo (Free Trial) 8.

1. Apple’s Photos (Built-in app)

Apple’s Photos app is included for free on all recently released Macs. It does a good job at organizing your photos, but its collection of photo enhancement tools leaves much to be desired. Hopefully, our selection of the best free programs for photo editing on Mac will help you choose the right app to suit all your creative needs.

2. Luminar (7 days trial)

Luminar is another full-featured photo editor that’s popular with both Mac and Windows users. It can work as a standalone app as well as a plugin for such popular programs as Apple Photos.

Luminar uses Artificial Intelligence to enable sophisticated yet quick photo enhancements. Among these AI features are Sky Enhancer, which adds more depth and detail to the sky in your photos while leaving other areas untouched; Accent AI, which analyzes a photo and automatically applies the best combination of different effects to enhance your image; and Sun Rays, which allows you to place an artificial sun and adjust the lighting to your liking or make the sun rays already in your photo look even more incredible.

Luminar has over 60 filters you can apply to your photos to enhance them in a moment. Luminar also provides a set of powerful tools for cropping, transforming, cloning, erasing, and stamping, along with layers, brushes, and many more incredible features. Luminar supports the Touch Bar on the latest MacBook Pro, making photo editing even more effortless and pleasing.

3. Photolemur 3 (Free Version with watermark)

Photolemur is a relative newcomer on the photo editing market but it has all the chances to win the favor of beginner photographers and hobbyists. Running on Artificial Intelligence, Photolemur is a completely automatic photo enhancer, meaning that it does all the editing for you in no time. It has the simplest interface, with only a few buttons and sliders to adjust the enhancement to your liking and view the before and after results.

All you need to do is choose a photo (or a few) that you want to improve, drag and drop or import them using the Import button, and let the program make enhancements. After it’s done, you can compare the edited version with the original image by using the before–after slider and, if you want, adjust the skin tone or even enlarge the eyes using additional sliders. Pretty easy, huh?

Photolemur also offers a number of impressive styles to touch up your photos and give them a sophisticated and professional look. With this app, you don’t need to stuff your head with photo editing nuances and terms. Just run Photolemur and watch the magic happen!

4. Aurora HDR (14 days trial)

As you probably can tell from the name, Aurora HDR is designed to help photographers enhance their HDR photos, making them even more detailed and beautiful. It’s an ideal tool for editing your photos, with an extensive collection of more than 20 tools including details, tone, mapping, color, glow, and vignette. Each tool has its unique selection of controls to adjust its effects.

Aurora HDR enables you to work with brushes, layers, and masks, and provides a number of automatic AI tools for recognizing and removing noise, enhancing colors, lighting, and details, improving clarity, and adding contrast to dull areas while leaving other areas untouched.

Aurora HDR does a great job dealing with difficult lighting situations and creating full-of-life images while being easy to use.

5. Pixelmator (Trial 30 Days)

Pixelmator is a photo enhancer beloved by many Mac users, as it offers a good combination of a modern and simple interface, the ability to work on multiple layers, and powerful features that take photo editing to a whole new level. With so many editing tools, brushes, and effects, you can enhance your photos to your liking. You can choose between two versions of Pixelmator – standard and pro – depending on your needs. The standard version is great for basic photo editing with its selection of essential tools and filters, while the pro version is packed with extra brushes, tools, and effects that let you push your creativity to new boundaries. You can decide which version is suitable for you according to what features you’re looking for in a photo editing app.

Best video editing software for mac pro mac. 6. Adobe Photoshop Elements 2020 (Trial link)

Photoshop Elements isn’t as affordable as other photo enhancers for beginner photographers. But luckily there’s a trial version available, so you can check it out before deciding whether this app is worthy of your money. Photoshop Elements acquired many powerful features from Photoshop, only Elements is simplified for amateur photographers and enthusiasts. It includes a good number of effects and filters, plus automated editing options for improving lighting, color balance, and exposure, and even opening closed eyes and reducing the effects of camera shake.

In addition to all of these awesome features, Photoshop also offers editing modes for beginners, intermediate users, and experts. Beginners will probably prefer Quick mode, as it focuses on essential tools to quickly enhance your photos by improving color, lighting, and other basic settings. Guided mode provides intermediate users with step-by-step guidance with more professional features like artistic effects, skin tone correction, and background replacement. Expert mode gives you full access to the app’s really powerful editing features and is ideal for creating stunning images.

7. Affinity Photo (Free Trial)

Affinity Photo’s interface may seem overwhelming at first, especially for novices, but when you come to grips with it you’ll find that the app is just what you’ve been looking for. Its numerous professional tools, effects, and filters encourage you to get creative with your photos. Among the coolest features Affinity Photo has to offer is a before and after view to compare the original photo with its edited version.

Affinity Photo works with 15 file types, including common ones like PDF, PSD, JPG, and GIF as well as some less popular ones. The app amazes with its abundance of basic and top-notch editing tools, allowing you to tweak your photos using all possible kinds of instruments. Affinity Photo allows you to edit HDR photos, apply artistic filters and effects, play with masks and layers, and create breathtaking compositions by combining several images in one. If you find its interface a bit much and are afraid of getting lost in all those advanced tools, you should probably look for something more suitable for your level. But Affinity Photo is worth mastering.

8. Google Photos

Google Photos is a popular cloud storage service for photos and videos. It can’t boast countless masterly tools like other photo enhancers that we review in this article, but it includes some fundamental features like filters, color adjustment sliders, and transformation tools.

Although Google Photos may not be that helpful when it comes to editing photos, it does a pretty good job at storing high-resolution images and videos with 15GB of free online storage, compared to iCloud’s mere 5GB (which you can upgrade to 50GB for a monthly fee). If you’re planning to go on a trip and take plenty of photos, then it might be smart to sign up for Google Photos to use that extra storage space when you come back.

9. PhotoScape X (Free)

A relatively new photo editing app, PhotoScape X has been gaining popularity with many Mac and PC users since its release in 2008. Its interface is simple but unconventional, with a number of tabs running along the top of the window. Each is responsible for a specific stage of editing. The Viewer tab allows you to browse and organize your photos. After you pick a photo, you can switch to the Editor tab, which includes a broad set of instruments, filters, and effects and a useful feature that enables you to compare the adjusted photo with the original.

The next tabs, including the Batch tab, mainly concentrate on editing and renaming multiple photos at once. The GIF tab allows you to easily create an animated GIF from a group of selected photos.

The downside of PhotoScape X is a lack of selection tools, so all changes are applied to the whole image rather than to a selected part.

10. Gimp (Free)

Gimp is a free open-source photo editing app that has been on the market for over 22 years and is available for Windows, Mac, and even Linux. Unlike many free apps, Gimp doesn’t have any ads or in-app purchases. Its grey interface might seem a little old-fashioned and it may be a bit sluggish when it comes to complex effects, though.

Gimp offers a vast collection of advanced tools that hardly any free photo editor can boast. It has numerous enhancement options such as clone and heal brushes, layers and channels, accurate selection tools, a number of transformation instruments, and, of course, color adjustment controls. Gimp is one of the most powerful tools for enhancing photos and is beloved by so many users for its price (free) and versatility. But if you can’t come to grips with Gimp’s interface, it may be worth paying some cash for a more user-friendly program.

Whether you want to get rid of a skin blemish, blue a sky, add filters, or something else, there are tons of photo editing apps available for iPad!

With the help of services like iCloud Photo Library, it's easier and more convenient than ever to shoot on your iPhone and start editing instantly on iPad. Depending on what kind of photo editing you need to do, some apps may be better suited for you than others, and that's exactly what we're going to help you figure out.

These are the photo editing apps for iPad we feel are currently the best of the best!



If you don't mind spending a little money, and really want a photo editing app that seems to truly do it all, and if you're looking for endless editing options and creative control, then we recommend taking a peek at the highly-rated Pixelmator for your iPad. Think of it like Photoshop for your iPad.

With Pixelmator, users can play around with advanced photo settings like single-tap color correction presets, beauty and facial editors that can easily erase imperfections, blemishes, and unwanted objects, the ability to pinch, bump, twirl, or wrap areas of an image, the option to edit images of up to 100 megapixels, and so, so much more.

You can even use Pixelmator paint images directly onto your iPad, turning your tablet into a digital canvas of sorts. You can pick and choose from over 100 artist-designed brushes, smudge color with your finger to blend like you would IRL, use eyedropper tools to isolate and perfect your colors, and really bring your creativity to the forefront of your digital artwork.

On my MacBook Pro 2015, I can still select the Native resolution.Also miss the dedicated input switch button which was available on a legacy Dell S2409 24' display. Quick observations from a Mac User.I just bought & unpacked this monitor primarily to work with my Mac's (Mini, 2 MacBook Pros).I should have researched this a bit better, but there is no Mac support for the Dell Display Manager software (to arrange windows). Dell display manager software mac 10 Guess it is a Mac limitation and I need to look at other options on Mac (eg BetterTouchTool)Also, there doesn't appear to be any kind of display drivers for this monitor (I understand Macs don't need display drivers, but would have liked to the option to set certain settings directly from my Mac.It must be my aging eyes, but the picture appears grainy in scaled mode on my 2018 Mac mini - I was unable to use the native resolution of the monitor on my 2018 Mac Mini. I have configured a shortcut for this, but miss the dedicated button.The other annoyance I haven't had time to figure out is to control the speaker volume level directly from my Mac.

Once you're done editing your images with Pixelmator, or creating and painting your artwork, you can easily save your images with iCloud and instantly publish your final product to your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.

The only downside to the app? Some of the controls may take a bit of getting used to, and taking time to explore and get comfortable with the app is an absolute must.

Adobe Lightroom

Looking for an app that takes all the power and magic of Adobe's Photoshop technology that allows you to create and edit together beautiful images, capture breathtaking photos, import and sync RAW pictures, and so, so much more, all from the comfort of your iPad screen? If so, start playing around with Adobe Lightroom.

The app itself is free to download, but if you're a Creative Cloud member or start a free trial, you get access to things like access to paid editing features in Lightroom, lightroom CC for your Mac, and the ability to sync and access your photos with Lightroom across all your devices. Lightroom lets you tweak things like white balance, tint, temperature, auto-tone, exposure, vibrance, shadows, saturation, and more.

And if you're not happy with any of the adjustment you made to your photo? You can use their one tap go-back option to revert your image back to its original beauty. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

A Color Story

Keep your photos on your iPad looking sharp, stylized, and vibrant with a little bit of help from A Color Story.

With A Color Story, you get access to over 100 different filters that tint and change the look and feel of your photos, adjustment tools like temperature, saturation, brightness, contrast, hue shift, exposure, sharpness, blur, curves, and more, the ability to add photo effects like lens flares, colored mists, and other edits to your photos, and so, so many more picture editing options.

A Color Story is a great photo editing app to use on your iPad because you can clearly see all the edits and fine details as you add them to your photo. Oh! And the best part? It's free!


If you're looking for an app that has dozens of tools to play and edit with, an app that allows you to be as precise as possible with editing on an iPad, or as simple and streamlined with fun and fast filters while still producing stunning results, then take a peek at Snapseed.

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Snapseed is designed to edit RAW photos, equipped with tools like healing, brush, structure, HDR, transform, crop, white balance, and so much more, and totally free to use on your iPad, Snapseed makes your photos look like they were shot and edited by a professional.

You can even add different effects and feels to your photographs, such as grainy film, vintage filers, dramatic overlays, retrolux looks, noir effects, and so much more.


If you're someone who likes to add a filter to a photo and forget about it, or if you're someone who really likes editing and creating content that'll pop on social media, check out a true online cult favorite: VSCO!

While VSCO isn't normally praised for its precise editing abilities, it does come with 15 different editing options to play around with. This means you can easily adjust things like contrast, saturation, temperature, vignette, along with other things just like you would with most photo editing apps.

Where VSCO really shines, though, are the stunning filters: once you slap a VSCO filter on a photo on your iPad, you really feel like a pro! These filter effects aren't tacky or distasteful, and bring out the best parts of your photos. It enhances them, bringing out their full potential.

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The app itself is free to download, but if you want to pick up any more filter packs or individual filters, then you're going to have to shell out a few bucks for each one.


If you haven't heard of Prisma before, then where the heck have you been!? This art-imitating app took over everyone's phones and social media feeds in the summer, which is why it's no surprise that it's still a fun fan favorite for editing your iPad pics!

Prisma works simply by uploading a photo and adding a filter that imitates a specific type of art style, whether it be anime, Van Gogh, pencil art, and so, so much more. Because of the unique algorithm for each image style, some work better for different types of scenes, and not so much on others. It's all about trial and error with this one, and you'll be surprised at some of the results that you'll end up with. Regardless, you'll end up with something that is truly unique.

You can even upload and edit in your own personal art style. Now how many apps allow you to do such a cool thing like that? And Prisma is free, so it's definitely worth checking out!


Looking for a super popular app that has all the editing magic of Photoshop, but without the super complicated steps or massive price tag? Then we recommend taking a gander at Facetune for iPad, and you'll never take a bad photo ever again!

Facetune allows users to really get into their photos and edit out little flaws and issues on their skin, hair, eyes, makeup, etc. It's not only a popular app amongst beauty gurus and famous Instagrammers, but it's also consistently one of the most popular apps in the App Store. In fact, in 2016, it was the second-most-downloaded paid iPhone app in the store, second only to Minecraft!

And if it all seems a bit overwhelming at first, don't worry. Facetune has a mini-tutorial for pretty much everything on the first tap, so you'll never miss a beat. There are even short videos that demonstrate each tool in action, which may be necessary for some people before they start seeing the true power of Facetune.

So if you're someone who wants to look their best in all their photos, invest in Facetune ASAP. Plus, editing/smoothing out your photos on an iPad > editing/smoothing out your photos on an iPhone. You have so much more room to get precise.


Have you ever wanted to turn your standard iPad photo into a fisheye masterpiece? What about perfectly straightening and cropping your photo in the most precise way possible? Sometimes adjusting the parameters and correcting the view of your image can be tough, but with SKRWT, you can say 'screw it' and edit in ease!

While you can't add filters, adjust contrast, or mess with white balance with SKRWT, you can effortlessly correct horizontal and vertical lines if they're askew, imitate the look of a shot with a GoPro or a drone, and effortlessly adjust and correct an unbalanced photo. And the best part about SKRWT is the amazingly precise controls: once you lift your finger from the adjustment dial, it won't move. In fact, it stays as you intended to leave it the moment you release your finger from the screen. It's amazing, and this is such an important detail when it comes to adjusting straight lines in your photo, as even a small smidge can ruin the straightening effect.

To quote the app description itself, 'If you are a sucker for quality and symmetry, SKRWT is for you'. It's super easy to use and while it's not an all-in-one photo editing app, it does the job that it was designed for immaculately.

Photoshop Fix

Chances are the first thing you think of when you hear photo editing is a lil' itty bitty thing called Photoshop: so it makes sense that you'd download Adobe's Photoshop Fix for your iPad, right?!

This powerful, super well-designed photo editing app allows you to easily and effortlessly retouch, smooth, liquify, lighten, and adjust your photos on your iPad to your heart's content. When you're done, you can even send your images directly to Photoshop on your desktop so you can continue to edit and fine-tune them further.

Like Adobe's other apps, Photoshop Fix has a more modular approach when it comes to photo editing, versus the fly-in panels that other apps have. You can also use the Adjustments module to apply global changes to things like exposure, contrast, saturation, and highlights with simple sliders. There are no units on said sliders, but it's easy to see that the changes from the middle of the slider will have a more dramatic effect than the ends, so it's not like units are necessary. It's intuitive and easy to use, and makes great use of the iPad's large screen estate.

The only downside to the app is that you need an Adobe account to use it, but never fear: you can always sign up for a free trial to play around with the app!

Pixelmator Photo

While we love the original Pixelmator, if you're using it solely for photo editing, then the more recent Pixelmator Photo may be the better option to go with.

In Pixelmator Photo, you will find a huge collection of nondestructive, desktop-class color adjustments to create the perfect photo on your iPad, each and every time. The app also utilizes artificial intelligence to automatically improve your photos to look like a pro photographer took them. Pixelmator Photo also has an extensive collection of presets and effects that are inspired by different photography styles, suitable for a wide variety of potential subjects. And if you like to experiment, there is the ability to customize and create your own presets as well for easy one-tap access later.

If you use a DSLR for photos, don't worry! Pixelmator Photo has full RAW support and is completely capable of editing high-resolution RAW photos, whether they're from your DSLR or even iPhone.

Affinity Photo

If you're looking for raw power in your photo editing app for iPad, look no further than Affinity Photo.

Affinity Photo uses Metal for accelerated performance on your iPad, and its completely optimized, so editing larger images is a breeze. You can dump in 100-megapixel images into Affinity without skipping a beat. The app runs at 120fps and can handle even Photoshop PSD files. Affinity has support for multiple layers, live filters, high-quality retouching and correction tools, and many more professional image processing features. And everything is non-destructive with live effect layers, so you can erase effects away or simply mask them up after they've been applied.

Affinity Photo will work on iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and 3, iPad mini 5, and iPad (early 2017 and later). Older iPads are not supported.


Darkroom is a powerful and robust photo editing app that is perfect for your iPad, and even your iPhone.

Regardless of the device that you're using, Darkroom is perfectly tuned to make the most of the screen estate that it has to work with. You get RAW support, Portrait mode editing, custom filters, hashtag managers, content-aware frames, and more. And if you do use Darkroom on multiple devices, the built-in Library Sync feature makes sure that all of your photos are easily accessible, whether you're on the iPad or your iPhone. The app also has pro-level tools, such as curve adjustments, but done in a way that even beginners can understand. And if you want to do batch processing, Darkroom can take care of that too.

I personally like to use Darkroom when editing on my iPhone, but it's definitely a fantastic option to have in your iPad photo editing toolkit as well.

What do you use to edit?

If you edit lots of photos on your iPad, what apps have you found to be your favorites and why? Let us know what your top choices are in the comments below and we'll be sure to check 'em out!

July 2019: Updated information and added new apps. These are the best photo editing apps for your iPad!

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